Disposable Takeaway Containers & Lids
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When people visit their favourite takeaway restaurant, they are probably more interested in what is inside the container than the container itself. Nevertheless, it is essential for caterers to remember how important their packaging is to the quality of their product. Customers will soon grow weary of an outlet that persistently serves meals in inappropriate takeaway containers, causing them to lose heat quickly or worse still to leak out of the container on the way home.
What are takeaway containers made from?
There are three main types of containers used regularly in the takeaway industry: polystyrene foam, microwavable plastic and aluminium foil.
Usually the most inexpensive option, polystyrene takeaway containers are easy to store, disposable and since they are usually about 98% air very lightweight. They are ideal for serving dry food, such as chips, burgers, hotdogs or fried chicken. They can come either as open trays perfect for customers who want to eat their meal on the move or with a fold-over lid to preserve warmth.
Sealable plastic containers, usually transparent, are often used for Chinese and Indian takeaway meals, as well as any other takeaways that include plenty of liquid. They are reusable, keep food warm (and in its container) and are usually microwave and dishwasher safe. Such containers are usually made from plastics like polypropylene, which is strong yet flexible and has a high melting point. It is widely recyclable as well.
Being such a good conductor of heat, an aluminium tray reflects the warmth of the food inside it, keeping the meal warm for a long time. Usually, the tray is combined with a card lid to form a practical and aesthetically pleasing way to serve a takeaway meal. A further advantage of the foil container is that it can be used in many ovens and freezers. They are disposable and, in many parts of the UK, recyclable.
What shapes and sizes of takeaway containers are available?
Unless used for soups or other hot drinks, takeaway containers are almost always rectangular, meaning that they are easy to stack and they tessellate, which maximises storage space both during transportation and while with the caterer. They usually vary in capacity, holding volumes of anywhere between half a litre and a full litre. Some containers even come with separate compartments, which is ideal for takeaway outlets and fast-food restaurants that serve meals in which two components should not necessarily be mixed together.
How are takeaway containers bought?
Obviously, due to the high volume of containers used by takeaway restaurants, they are unlikely to want to buy just one or two takeaway containers at a time. Most suppliers of takeaway containers sell them in bulk, with batches of 500 and 1,000 commonly seen. One of the most hassle-free ways for a caterer to get their hands on a healthy number of takeaway containers is via an online retailer and taking away the stress of scouring the shops for something that is unlikely to be found at the sort of volume required by those in the takeaway industry.